Menopause: psychosocial factors interfere with sexual life

pte20190710013 Medicine / Well-Being, Research / Technology

Only three percent report positive sexual experiences

Sex in the elderly: the libido decreases considerably (Photo:, M.E.)

Brighton (pte013 / 10.07.2019 / 11: 30) – The number of women having sex decreases with age. The number of women having sex after menopause is even lower. Until now, research has largely focused on biological causes. A study by the University of Sussex has now identified psychosocial factors. Only three percent of participants reported positive sexual experiences and six percent sought medical help for their sexual problems.

Extensive research has been conducted on biological causes such as hot flashes, sleep disorders, vaginal dryness and pain during sex. Much less is known about the effects of various generalized psychosocial changes after menopause. These include problems with body awareness, self-esteem, perceived desire, stress, mood swings, and relationship problems.

Qualitative survey

Most research in this area has focused on quantitative results. For the current study, data from nearly 4,500 postmenopausal women participating in the UKCTOCS (Collaborative Ovarian Cancer Screening Assay) from University College London have been evaluated. The team is focused on free text data. The goal was to better understand why women had certain sensations and how pronounced they were.

Variety of causes

Before the annual exams began, about half of the women were sexually active. Over time, a decrease in all areas of sexual activity has been observed. It has become rarer, less pleasant and more unpleasant. The main reason for the lack of sexual activity was the absence of a partner, which was largely due to the widow.

Other commonly reported causes of decreased activity are partner disorders, sexual partner dysfunction, woman-specific physical problems, menopausal symptoms, and prescribed medications. This order corresponds to the naming frequency. Relationship problems, logistics and the perception of old age have often contributed to low libido. Only three percent of participants reported positive sexual experiences. Six percent requested medical support for sexual problems.